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Welsh Conservatives lead backlash against Bannau Brycheiniog name change

17 Apr 2023 6 minute read
The Brecon Beacons will now go by its ancient Welsh name, Bannau Brycheiniog

The Welsh Conservatives have led the backlash against the decision to rename the Brecon Beacons National Park which has been criticised as a symbolic attempt to look “trendy”.

The park’s management claimed the association with a wood-burning, carbon-emitting blazing beacon was “not a good look” as the name was dropped in favour of its ancient Welsh counterpart Bannau Brycheiniog.

But Brecon and Radnorshire’s Tory MP Fay Jones questioned the cost and impact of the “symbolic” rebrand and demanded to know why local people were not consulted.

“I’m amazed that a change of name should be imposed on those who live and work in the National Park without any consultation,” she said.

“I am worried that this is symbolic. This is about looking trendy and jumping on a sustainability bandwagon for PR purposes.”

Downing Street said it expected people to carry on using the Brecon Beacons name and actions “rather than nomenclature” were the key to tackling climate change.

“The public, I’m sure, will continue to … use both the English and the Welsh names,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“Nomenclature”

Asked if other places called “beacon” should be renamed, the spokesman said: “I think on the specific issue of climate change, I think it’s tangible action that’s important, rather than nomenclature.”

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies vented his frustration over the name change via Twitter with a post that read: “It’s just a hunch, but I sense the Welsh people won’t think renaming the Brecon Beacons should be a priority.

“The Beacons are as recognisable outside of Wales are they are here. Why undermine that?”

The Welsh name for the region translates as “peaks of Brychan’s kingdom” – a reference to the fifth-century king in the region.

Plaid Cymru applauded the move to drop the English version of the name and welcomed it as a “positive step in normalising the use of Welsh”.

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for the Welsh Language, Heledd Fychan MS said: “From Garn Goch and Carreg Cennen in the west, to the peaks of Pen y Fan, Cribyn and Corn Du – the Welsh language is already central to the Bannau Brycheiniog.

“Plaid Cymru has consistently called on the government to protect Welsh place names in law, and this decision by the National Park is a positive step in normalising the use of Welsh. That’s because, in reclaiming our original Welsh names, we can reclaim our heritage, which is vital if we want our language to continue to play a role in Wales’ futur

Catherine Mealing-Jones, the national park authority’s chief executive said: “Given that we’re trying to provide leadership on decarbonisation, a giant burning brazier is not a good look.

“Our park is shaped by Welsh people, Welsh culture, and as we looked into it we realised the brand we’ve got and the name we’ve got, it’s a bit of a nonsense, it doesn’t really make any sense – the translation Brecon Beacons doesn’t really mean anything in Welsh.

“We’d always had the name Bannau Brycheiniog as the Welsh translation and we just felt we needed to put that front and centre as an expression about the new way we wanted to be celebrating Welsh people, Welsh culture, Welsh food, Welsh farming – all of the things that need to come with us as we go through this change in the management plan.”

But she acknowledged that “people are used to calling the park by the name everyone’s used for 66 years so we don’t expect everyone to use Bannau Brycheiniog, at least straight away”.

Welcome news

The Welsh Liberal Democrats welcomed the news stating that it is a positive move to use the history of the region to help build a successful future for the Park.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said: “It’s great to see the re-introduction of the name Bannau Brycheiniog today. The message put forward by the Park is a clear example of how we can use the region’s history to build a better future for the park.

“Other countries like New Zealand see the use of their indigenous languages such as Māori as not only key to protecting their history and culture, but also as a key marketing tool. There is no reason we shouldn’t be doing so in Wales.

“Beyond the name change, what has been highlighted by the park today, is that it faces numerous threats, whether that is the Government failing to take action on the sewage dumping crisis, or climate change. It is a clear message to us all that we must unite to protect what is a national treasure.

Liberal Democrat Leader of Powys Council James Gibson-Watt added: “Today marks a new chapter for Bannau Brycheiniog, a chapter where we seek to learn from the past to build a better future for one of the UK’s greatest landscapes.

“This is an important decision in protecting our local culture and history. It is vital that we work to protect this landscape and promote the landscape and communities that live and work within it. That is what I and the Liberal Democrats will continue to push for as the Leader of Powys Council.

“New way”

Welsh actor Michael Sheen, star of The Damned United and Good Omens, filmed a promotional video to celebrate the name change, with words written by poet and author Owen Sheers.

Sheen said he welcomed the “reclamation of the old Welsh name – an old name for a new way of being”.

Wales Green Party Leader, Anthony Slaughter also praised the news.

In a statement he said: “The decision to drop the English name of the National Park and only use the original Welsh name Bannau Brycheiniog is a welcome one and the right thing to do.

“The reclamation of original Welsh names is a positive celebration of the nation’s language and culture, an acknowledgement of the past and a progressive step into the future.”


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Aled Rees
Aled Rees
5 months ago

everybody welcomes this move apart from the conservatives.strange that ain’t it.

Dilwyn
Dilwyn
5 months ago
Reply to  Aled Rees

Have we heard from the Labour Party?

Blinedig
Blinedig
5 months ago
Reply to  Aled Rees

Just a coincidence maybe, but I enjoyed seeing these two headlines next to each other on the screen: “… far right extremist groups attempt to recruit new members”; “Welsh Conservatives lead backlash against Bannau Brycheiniog name change”.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
5 months ago

This just goes to show that the Welsh Conservatives are completely in hock to their English masters.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
5 months ago

Anybody surprised?

Rhian Davies
Rhian Davies
5 months ago

It’s nice to see the public humiliation of the Cymry stopped for once, by the parc removing the phoney English-translation ‘Brecon Beacons’ from a road sign. That Saesneg version was a beacon alright, a beacon of English dominance and arrogance, that’s what it was! The Cymry to me have been dominated by vulgar Saesneg (English) versions of their sublimely meaningful place-names for over 100 years I think. Growing up her in the 70s was for me almost like the song ‘a boy named Sue.’ It’s was as humiliating to me as that! And I hope the endless parade of embarassing… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
5 months ago
Reply to  Rhian Davies

Where reasonable – I detest ‘Cardiff’, ‘Carmarthen’ etc. ‘Swansea’ and ‘Abertawe’, however, seems to be a different case, with the English name being as old as the Welsh (both having been different settlements, or an Anglo-Saxon town and a toponym). The re-naming of the park is just symbolic, and there is nothing at all wrong with symbolism in this context – it is what it’s in aid of that matters. We must be careful not to become to revanchist in our approach, take these victories graciously (through advocating the approach that these sorts of cultural realignments are for all the… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
5 months ago

As dozens and dozens have pointed out to Feeble-minded Fay, there was a consultation but because she is utterly divorced from B&R as well as reality, she wouldn’t know anyway.

The original mark
The original mark
5 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

I live in the park and don’t remember a consultation, but then I do live in one of the forgotten areas of the park, not very affluent, But this name change is a pleasant surprise.

Llyn
Llyn
5 months ago

Is this the same Conservative Party which prioritised changing the name of the Severn Bridge?

Dafydd B
Dafydd B
5 months ago

Da iawn Parc Cenedlaethol. Dylai pob enw Saesneg cael I newid I,’r un Cymraeg gwreiddiol. Synnu bod y Ceidwadwyr, sef Fay Jones ac Andrew RT Davies dim yn cytuno.

Gareth
Gareth
5 months ago

Is there another political party on the planet, that constantly belittles and is so against the people and country that it purports to represent. This is the very epitome of Dic Sion Dafydd behaviour, opposing the national language in favour of an imported language belonging to their foreign masters.

George Thomas
George Thomas
5 months ago

I think it’s wrong to say that the following examples belong to the following groups, but in terms of what Westminster Tories and Senedd Tories are saying at the moment: Westminster Tories: we need more maths, even though it may not be popular because it has the perception of being dry and difficult. Welsh Tories: where are those right-wing conspiracy believing, Welsh language hating people? How can we attract them to vote for us? Westminster Tories are saying what we need, even if part of it is to p**s off arty people, and reminds us that we need a Conservative… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago

I wish one of Brychan’s daughters descendants could put a sock in Fay’s gob and stop her gums rattling . She’s pretty faycant and we don’t care.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
5 months ago

What’s the big issue for the Tories ? It’s not going to stop people going there. Why are they so obvious to the damage they give to their party by this senseless anti-Welsh language attitude all the time? At this rate I can’t see the party being any sort of electoral force in Wales in the near future – our young already detest them.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

I have a suggestion for a name change for the Conservative and Unionist Party, The Nasty and Anti-Welsh Party. Says it all

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
5 months ago

The Conservatives are the anti-Welsh party so I am not surprised

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
5 months ago

I have a suggestion for a name change for the Conservative and Unionist Party, The Nasty and Anti-Welsh Party. Says it all

Erisian
Erisian
5 months ago

They claim to be WELSH conservatives.
What an oxymoron.
They are monoglot UNIONISTS and intrinsicaly incapable of serving Welsh interests

Frank
Frank
5 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

… with a bloated dictator come finger pointing farmer in charge.

Frank
Frank
5 months ago

Why does the media insist on saying that this move is a change of name? Bannau Brycheiniog have been known so since the sixth century. Headlines should read: BANNAU BRYCHEINIOG TO BE KNOWN BY THEIR CORRECT AND ORIGINAL NAME

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
5 months ago

Welsh Conservatives lead backlash against Wales. Just another day in the office. Isn’t it time that the term ‘Welsh Conservatives’ was dropped and replaced by ‘British Empire Party in Wales’?

hdavies15
hdavies15
5 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Backlash ? More like limp wristed froth at the mouth.

Andy Williams
5 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

England’s first colony, and still a colony in Tories eyes.

Lee Delamere
Lee Delamere
5 months ago

We could start using the Welsh place names in The Welsh Marches such as Amwythig Croesoswallt Henffordd Caer, that will annoy them.

Andy Williams
5 months ago

I thought I’d throw this into the mix, remember our Saxon neighbours name for our nation, “Wales, the land of the foreigner”

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
5 months ago
Reply to  Andy Williams

Comes from Weallas. It was more to do with “Romanised Britons” than anything meaning a stranger or a foreigner. Though, having “foreign ways” was always perceived by the actual foreigners themselves having originally come from an entirely different place and culture. Romans were no different, Latinising us as the Cambrogi and the nation as Cambria. When they left, we soon rid ourselves of their roman influence. But today, I think it would be far more symbolic and important to rid ourselves of English imperial dominance while the English influence is actually still around us. I see plenty of that happening… Read more »

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